Over the Weekend: the Littlest Viking on Saturday, at Tropics Lounge, Fullerton

The Hype: Thanks to a recent string of successful Orange County/Long Beach shows, local audiences are becoming more acquainted with drum/guitar duo the Littlest Viking (of Whittier/San Pedro) and their frazzled blend of post-hardcore, math rock bad assery. People are also snatching up copies of the band's pretty much sold out 2009 release Labor & Lust. The Littlest Viking's Saturday show at the Tropics Lounge was the first in a weekend of back-to-back dates in Fullerton that concluded with a Sunday performance at the Continental Room. 

Apologies for the shitty cellphone pic of the Littlest VikingEXPAND
Apologies for the shitty cellphone pic of the Littlest Viking

The Show: With just enough light dripping from the dusty lamp above an old pool table, the sparse audience at the Tropics Lounge in Fullerton watched as instrumental duo the Littlest Viking dialed their playing all the way to warp speed. It only took one or two songs of aggressive rock riffage to snag the crowd's attention. Although with fewer than 20 people sitting around guzzling beer, the Littlest Viking performed with maximum verve. Guitarist Ruben Cortez and drummer Christopher Gregory delivered a melodic, scrappy instrumentals marked by tricky time signatures and raw power. 

Even though most of their songs didn't seem to have any titles (maybe they just didn't feel like telling us), the band bombarded the crowd with complex shredding and tapping that shined on tunes like "Robert Palmer is Due for a Critical..." (currently streaming on their MySpace page). And while most of the crowd couldn't stop staring at the mustachioed Cortez as he wailed away on his fire truck red Gretsch guitar, Gregory was doing more than his share behind the kit. With a mixture of flailing tom work and tight snare shots, he set the pace for a chaotic cocktail of sweaty, post hardcore angst and jazzy precision. 

Their set carried on for a about a half-hour as they revved up for a handful of complicated compositions that twisted, stabbed and looped inside the jagged frame work of bands like Hella, No Knife and Foals. But more importantly, they were fun as hell to watch. The Bellhaunts and Stars at Night Opened the show.

The Crowd: Not exactly the liveliest bunch, but the rock-n-roll bar crowd at Tropics was an interesting mix of torn-shirt punk kids, middle-aged rockers and handful of girls that almost looked too young to drink (they ended up being the girls from the band Stars at Night). Oh, and  enthusiastic male cross dresser rocking a fabulous cheetah print overcoat.

Overheard: At the bar, a girl took a brief moment of quiet in between bands to yammer on about her love life. "He can say whatever he wants, but I did not have sex with that guy. Eww." We know some of you can relate.

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